This is going to be a really tough blog to write for two reasons. One being the obvious, which is it's never easy to watch something replay after you have already worked through those emotions. The second reason being that this was filmed seven months ago, and some of the women and I are in a better place now. Yet I must address how I felt back then.
Before I begin my blog I have to say Jim and I have been praying for Grayson (Slade's son) since we met them both. Grayson is the strongest little guy and he is here to teach each of us something. We know this has been a struggle for them and above all, family and health are everything and we are praying for Grayson, Slade, and Gretchen.
At the beginning of the show we see Heather at the radio station, and I thought she did extremely well. She seemed really comfortable and she had a great radio voice. I was shocked and sad to hear about her experience as a young girl being bullied. It really brought up a lot of raw emotions. It’s ironic that someone who was picked on as a child and seems so well versed in it doesn't realize the parallel of her teaming up with the other girls.
Bullying is not a topic I take lightly. It's not a word I just tossed out there because it was convenient. It is truly how I have felt. Just because I have a job, or make a paycheck, does not mean I am suppose to take horrible treatment and do nothing about it. I do not approve of bullying in an office anymore than in a lunchroom, anymore than on a playground. Let me be clear about this, bullying comes in MANY different ways, MANY different degrees, in ALL ages, and it can be verbal or physical.
On that note, I would never want to detract from all of the unfathomable pain that some children (or teens or adults) have suffered from. Bullying is a very serious and very controversial topic, and I am sensitive to that. My heart goes out to all the children, moms, dads, friends, or families that have suffered from it. I am the first to admit I was never hit and never had things thrown at me, however I know what I have experienced. Last year is in the past, so I do not want to even discuss that anymore, but the night of Tamra's party was unbelievable, and it felt like I was being attacked. Let me tell my side of the story from that night.
First off, the night Vicki asked me to go to Tamra's party it took her over 45 minutes to convince me to go. Tamra had spread horrible rumors about Jim and I. The rumors and hateful gossip had gotten so bad that Jim and I pursued our legal rights and realized we had a case in the matter, but Tamra shut up once I made this known (read my past blogs for details). So I felt Tamra was extending the olive branch when she said I could come to her party. The clincher for why I said yes to going to the party was that during our conversation Vicki looked at me with tears in her eyes and said she felt like she was on a desert island the night at Heather's clambake. Vicki said she felt isolated. That struck a cord with me because that was how I felt last year. So, I put her feelings ahead of my better judgement and I said I would go. If I can do anything to prevent someone else from experiencing a terrible feeling like that, I will do it. My gut told me no, but my heart told me yes and I followed my heart. I was going to support Vicki and I was proud of Tamra's new business.
Obviously, I was wrong. After seeing it all play out, yes, I was stupid, capital S-T-U-P-I-D. Also after watching it all play out, I had a few red flags for Tamra's true intentions. When Tamra was talking with Eddie while getting ready for the party, she was very mad that she had said yes to Vicki and felt she was put on the spot. Yet, she still said yes to Vicki a SECOND time when Vicki texted her. Hmmm, for some reason I don't feel Tamra is the kind of person to say yes when she means no, especially not twice. Another red flag is that Tamra said she plans to ask me "what the f--- I'm doing there." Why? That's starting the nonsense she asked me not to bring.
Fast forward to arriving at the party. At first, it seems it's going to be a smooth night. Tamra accepts my gift, and even takes me on a tour of her plans for the gym. Phew, it's all good! For a moment.
Then we all sit around the couches and the awkward silence begins, topped with several under-the-breath comments. I'm wishing I could leave, yet I know that I am in a no-win situation no matter what I do. So when dinner begins, I'm simply trying to be the quietest, non-person there. Vicki thanking Tamra for allowing me to come is both uncomfortable and strange, and it sends the night into a tailspin. I try several times to diffuse the situation, and all I want to do at this point is run away. It shocks me that Gretchen pounces on me within six seconds of Tamra and I arguing. It shouldn't have surprised me, especially since before the party she said I am "asking for it" by going back and sitting at the bully's lunch table. She called herself that name in that moment, not me. Well, if the shoe fits. . .
Then Heather jumps in when I'm already trying to diffuse Tamra and Gretchen. Now looking back I should have walked out. But I was in defense mode. I realized I became numb to Gretchen several months ago, but it really opened my eyes to how cold her heart truly is when she clapped as I was being thrown out of the party. That moment was so surreal for me. Tamra, Gretchen, and Heather are all screaming at me. I am scared Tamra is going to hit me when she walks over to my chair, and then my ex-friend is clapping while I'm getting thrown out of the party. I was crushed. I felt like I was at that lunchroom table at that moment. I was humiliated, yet so relieved to get out of that environment. Get me away from the line of fire. I was emotionally and mentally prepared to be there for Vicki that night and stand by her until the end, but honestly I was glad to leave early.
Please know that I am not a victim here. Through this experience, I am stronger than ever. God allows us to go through certain situations in our life to build character and make us stronger, and that is exactly what has happened to me. But my lesson was for my kids. I'm not going to let anything deter me from my dreams. That's why I came back this year. I'm happy to take anyone on one-on-one, but I will never take three-on-one. Being bullied, teamed up on, ganged up, attacked, outnumbered, it's all semantics. It's unacceptable.
If you or anyone you know is being bullied, tell someone, get help, reach out. There are people out there that can help you. You are not alone.
Until next week,